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We stand for all veterans, regardless of race, ethnicity or gender

We stand for all veterans, regardless of race, ethnicity or gender James W. "Bill" Oxford, National Commander
We stand for all veterans, regardless of race, ethnicity or gender James W. "Bill" Oxford, National Commander

Dear American Legion Family Members and Friends,

WE ARE HERE TO ASSERT in the strongest terms possible that The American Legion stands for equal rights for everyone, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender or any other characteristic. There is no qualifier to that statement.

It’s a belief The American Legion has held since our founding just after the end of World War I. At that time in 1919, African-American veterans were among our organization’s founders who adopted a mission statement – the Preamble to The American Legion Constitution – that rings as true today as it did more than a century ago.

At every official American Legion meeting, we pledge among other things “to maintain law and order,” as well as “safeguard and transmit to posterity the principles of justice, freedom and democracy.”

We grieve for African-American citizens George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and far too many others. Their senseless deaths have brought the topic of race relations to the forefront of our hearts and minds.

Just as we believe in equal rights for all, we believe in law and order. Those sentiments were thoughtfully shared in a recent special two-part episode of The American Legion’s Tango Alpha Lima podcast. We encourage everyone to listen and reflect on the messages brought forth by the guests, all of whom are Legionnaires with unique stories to share regarding their experiences in law enforcement.

At this time, we have seen tensions rise. Rioters have taken advantage of peaceful protests to burn and loot buildings. White supremacists have targeted black Americans going about their daily lives. Angry citizens have recklessly hurled objects and insults at law enforcement officers.

It has to stop. America is better than this. We are better than this. Together, let’s find common ground to stand on so that every American can enjoy the freedoms we vowed to protect with our lives.

——

James W. “Bill” Oxford, National Commander. “We Stand for All Veterans, Regardless of Race, Ethnicity or Gender.” The American Legion, 13 July 2020, www.legion.org/commander/249460/we-stand-all-veterans-regardless-race-ethnicity-or-gender.